As the food charity season winds down, we finish off with the biggest of the lot. Last night, Second Harvest’s Toronto Taste took over the lobby of the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as much of the street along Queen’s Park as 2000 guests descended upon 60 chefs and restaurants, and over 30 beverage purveyors for a night of eating in support of one of Toronto’s most beloved food charities.
There is no possible way the average person can sample every item, and even though Greg and I tried to share things, we still couldn’t get to even half of the things on offer. But here’s an idea of what we came across.
I learned recently that these little boat-shaped dishes are called barquettes. These barquettes hold an asparagus dish from Woodlot.
Roger Mooking had the best display of the night, serving up his meat lollipops cooked in his spice rub via holes drilled in copies of his cookbooks. There were also little bags of spice mix to take home.
Duck confit tacos from FRANK Restaurant.
The most creative and unique dish of the evening goes to The Chef’s House where they filled egg shells with a foie gras custard along with quinoa and lobster. Pity the poor culinary students who had to get 1200 egg shells topped off perfectly.
The Counter is known for its mac and cheese and they served it up last night in little cones with some bacon.
Greg dared me to go find Scott Conant of Scarpetta and kiss him for bringing his famous polenta with truffled mushrooms to Toronto Taste. While there were many amazing dishes at this event, I’ll admit to having seconds of this.
beer bistro had potato skins topped with smoked salmon.
I didn’t actually try this French onion soup dumpling from Hiro Sushi/Forte (it was one of the shots I grabbed on the way in as I tried to get photos before too many people overwhelmed all the stations), but it got rave reviews on Twitter.
Ah, the gentlemen at Splendido have such a sense of humour. Grilled white asparagus, wrapped with … prosciutto, I think. It even squirted juice when bitten into.
Gnocchi with lamb from Ciao Wine Bar.
David Lee of Nota Bene always does some kind of burger for Toronto Taste. This year it came with kimchi.
Steak tartar from Didier. There were a number of tartars last night, including a venison version.
Sous vide pork belly sandwich from Petite Thuet. It was nowhere to be seen when we were there, but there were rumours that they had a beaver sausage or salami as well.
From Great Cooks on Eight, Andrea Nicholson offered a chilled artichoke soup with crispy duck skin and pickled pears.
This kebab from George included a fluffy spaetzle, venison salami and thinly-sliced roasted beets.
A salt cod fritter from Enoteca Sociale sits atop tripe in tomato ragu.
I never take photos of people at these events, yet someone I always end up with a pic of Martin Kouprie of Pangaea in my camera. Here he proffers a serving of his beignet with an orange cardamom shooter, which got rave reviews from guests.
More barquettes, this times filled with smoked turbot and potato salad from Grace.
Chef Michael Smith was on hand to offer confit of fingerling potatoes, topped with Manitoba pickerel, boar bacon and tarragon mustard foam.
The much-discussed pork blood and chocolate tart from Buca. Last year Chef Rob Gentile served us all brains (which briefly earned him the nickname Rob Zombie) so you had to figure he was going to do something equally outrageous this year. But it was a great hit, the blood adding a richness to the chocolate and the espresso-poached figs, macerated almonds and creme di buffala adding to the contrasts.
A more sedate dessert – coconut meringues from Dufflet.
And finally, the last of the cannoli from L’Unita – the perfect way to end the evening.